Happy Birthday Jesus?
On Wednesday, many people will wake up very early in the morning to rush down stairs and see what Santa has left under their tree. Santa, of course, is a secular tradition that pulls from multiple stories from around the world. Through the years, the big, jolly, gift-giving old man with a white beard became an icon for the holiday of Christmas. Besides Santa, there is one other person that people place a lot of value on this time of year: Jesus Christ. Many Christians believe that Jesus’ birthday is December 25th. Is Christmas Day really Jesus’ birthday? Should we celebrate Christmas as a remembrance of Jesus’ birthday?
Let me give you some facts to think about:
- No Biblical or non-biblical historical writings can tell us an accurate month, day, or time Jesus was born.
- There are no mentions in the Bible or non-Biblical writings of birth celebrations.
- The fact that shepherds were in the field watching their flock at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8) shows us that December 25th is most likely nowhere close to Jesus’ birthday. December is cold, rainy, and sometimes snowy. Shepherds would have not had their sheep grazing in the field in the middle of December.
- Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem for the census at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1-4). Censuses were never taken in winter, when temperatures would often drop below freezing and the roads were in poor condition.
- The apostles and early Christians never talked about, wrote about, or celebrated the birth of Jesus.
I think there is a reason that the birth of Jesus was never mentioned after the actual event occurred. The main focus of the New Testament church is not to praise a Savior that was born, but to praise a Savior that has been resurrected. Jesus never told us to remember or celebrate his birth, but He did command us to remember the Lord’s Supper in connection with His death and resurrection (Luke 22:19-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). He knew His birth was far less important than His death and resurrection.
As you celebrate Christmas this week with your friends and loved ones, take a few moments to consider these things. Christmas is a fun time to celebrate love, joy, and cheer between family and friends, but it’s not a time to throw a party for Jesus. Instead, we remember Jesus every Sunday when we come together to partake of the communion (Acts. 20:7).